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Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 01, 2007

Aboriginal Author is U of G's Writer-in-Residence

Lee Maracle, one of Canada’s most prolific aboriginal authors, is the University of Guelph’s writer-in-residence for the winter semester. She will be giving a free public reading from her 2002 novel, Daughters are Forever, March 7 at 4 p.m. in Massey Hall, Room 100.

Maracle wrote her first poem the day she learned to read and knew by the time she was 10 that we wanted to recreate myths. “That makes me a myth maker in my own culture and a fiction writer in other cultures,” she said. “It’s always been my goal not to translate, but to get the same feeling – from the sounds, rhythm and interplay of words and image – in the English version as I do when I hear the original story.”

When she began publishing her work in the early 1970s, Maracle became one of the first aboriginal people to be published.

She’s the author of 10 books, including novels Will’s Garden, Ravensong and Sundogs, and has contributed to more than 20 anthologies and collaborations. Maracle is the recipient of the J.T. Stewart Voices of Change Award and the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

A visiting professor at the University of Toronto, on the days Maracle isn’t at U of G, she teaches courses on indigenous thought and expression and creative writing in Toronto.

She’s no stranger to universities: she spent three years at Western Washington University as the Distinguished Professor of Canadian Culture, was the 2001 Stanley Knowles Visiting Professor in Canadian Studies at the University of Waterloo and held a prior visiting professorship with the women’s studies program at U of T, where she received a teaching award.

Maracle is also the founder of the En’owkin International School of Writing in Penticton, B.C., and the cultural director of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto, where she teaches classes on story creation.

Maracle is of Salish and Cree ancestry, grew up on a reserve in North Vancouver and is a member of the Stớ:lo First Nation. Among the aboriginal people, Maracle says she’s perhaps known more for her cultural work within the aboriginal community. She has served as a consultant on First Nations’ self-government, has conducted dozens of workshops on personal and cultural reclamation and has given hundreds of speeches on political, historical and feminist sociological topics related to native people.

Working with students is rewarding for Maracle because she says “I think I have a gift for seeing where the voice is taking the writer because I’ve struggled with it so much myself. I first learned to write English from a very English perspective and it seemed to be disconnected from my own sensibility of what story is all about.”

The difference in the use of voice in aboriginal writing is an obstacle Maracle says she’s had to face a lot. “In not conforming to the standards acceptable to an English-speaking public, you sacrifice popularity, but I wouldn’t do it any other way. I think the stories that I write are actually Canadian stories.”

In addition to helping aspiring writers with their work, Maracle says while on campus she’ll be finishing up a collection of essays, a collecting of short stories and a novel.

Maracle will be on campus Tuesdays and Wednesdays until the end of the semester to consult with U of G students, staff and faculty, as well as members of the local community. To book an appointment, contact Michael Boterman at Ext. 53147 or

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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